GHOSTFACE KILLAH: TWELVE REASONS TO DIE II

“Let me tell these n!&&@$ something god, I don’t want n!&&@$ sounding like me… on NO ALBUM, you know what I’m saying? Because I’ll approach the n!&&@…” Ghostface Killah, ‘Shark N!&&@$ (Biters)’, 1995

a2303507422_10We are fast approaching the 20th Anniversary of perhaps Wu-Tang’s most critically acclaimed album. That skit where the quote came from, had artists on notice. Somewhere between then and now the no biting rule in Hip Hop has broken. Not only was it broken, it was destroyed. Abused. Mutilated. Victimized. Emasculated. Artists came out sounding like Biggie (Shyne), Nas (Your Old Droog) and Ghostface Killah (Action Bronson). It may seem like a co-incidence, but when Twelve Reasons To Die Part 2 Hit stores, Bronson appeared on ESPN and threw shots at Ghostface. The Supreme Clientele Champion took to YouTube, threw the killing plate at Bronson and put him on blast. Don’t call it a beef, call it an inevitable rivalry.

The album’s executive producer – The RZA described Ghost as ‘The Powerful One’ in the Wu-Tang Manual. He’s back people!!! The Return of the Savage!!! And the album thriller begins! As you look at the track listing, there is a striking difference – the Wu clansmen who were predominately featured in the first instalment are all exchanged for Chef Raekwon (who plays Lester Kane) who appears on 5 of the 13 tracks. RZA returns as the album’s narrator. Seems like a new hobby that the Abbott has adopted since he really immersed himself into movies.

The ongoing battle to be the King Of New York is different to the one described in this sequel. This is about Kane Vs Luther Luca, the head of the remaining members of the DeLuca clan. Soon time for Tony to Rise Up once again… featuring Scarub, there’s a difference between biting one’s style and actually paying homage to a classic hot line: “The Luger’s rain, man, ain’t nothing but purp b!tch/That’s the cane clan, they ain’t nothing to f**k with/My tools say blam, change man to chump bits/Fools gonna lay in the Hudson or some ditch…”

Something interesting occurs in the ‘Daily News’… Clan rivalry killings hit the headlines, but the track is cut short… Ghost’s last bar tells Shawn Wigs of Theodore Unit to tell the priest how it went down… but alas, no Wigs to be seen…an unfinished track due to time restraints? Was Wigs’ verse not good enough?

Maybe Wigs couldn’t ‘Get The Money’, but Def Jam’s Vince Staples was able to!  Staples plays the role as one of Lester Kane’s men in the war against the DeLucas over an intense Adrian Younge beat.

RZA continues telling the story, as Lester closes in on Luca, and discovers a few things…there she is, Logan – the woman who caused all this mess, and a child…who happens to be Starks secret son…that could change everything.

Death’s Invitation sees Scarub, Lyrics Born and Chino XL attack the beat in an unorthodox style and it’s all poppin off…but Adrian Younge’s beat may overpower the MCs lyrics in places so the listener cannot catch everything said, but they get the idea of what is going on.

We come to the album’s highlight.. ‘Let The Record Spin’ sees Raekwon’s character summons he who has the Wu-Tang-ClanGhostface killing plate by doing just that. The DeLuca clan are in trouble now! They know what happened last time they went up against him. Lester finds himself sealing the deal in exchange for his life…

This flows nicely into ‘Blackout’, Lester now has the power of the Ghostface Killah. This is a two-minute assault with Ghost & Rae going tag team mode, they could have went another minute at least… so enjoyable, head nodding screwfacing, and boom – it’s all over, now it’s Resurrection Morning, which sees a different, more haunting Bilal appear on the track, not the smooth soul of Bilal that we know and expect. Time for Lester to seal his deal and he’s a man of his word…but Ghostface instead takes the soul of his son in ‘Life’s A Rebirth’, and finally puts an end to the woman who started it all.

The end of this album is clearly saying that this is a trilogy of events, so expect a 12 Reasons To Die Part 3 in the next year or so, or at the rate of albums that Ghost is going in, the next few months!

In the space of 8 months, Ghostface Killah has released 3 albums, all of them conceptual, all consistently good. Recall another MC who has done that. Right – NONE. Even though Wu fans would prefer to see RZA rhyme in the album, his role as a narrator fits perfectly. Ghost carries on tradition of giving fans an instrumental version of the album, however it’s a shame that Apollo Brown wasn’t available to put his version of the events this time round (Here’s looking at you Cylent Assassin – accept challenge?) As good as these short, movie like albums are, fans are really crying out for the Supreme Clientele: Blue & Cream. When Mr Bronson can at least match Ghostface’s consistency in 8 months, then there is a conversation. One thing is for sure, fans of the STILL reigning, defending Supreme Clientele Champion will enjoy their summer.

Birthday profile: “RZA” A history in brief

Shout out to UNIQUE HEAT for this inside look on the Wu-Tang’s Abbott.

Unique Heat

Born Robert Fitzgerald Diggs on the 5th July 1969 in Brooklyn, he went on to become the man who is seen as the leader of the Wu-Tang Clan. A multi-faceted career has seen equally as many different name changes (Prince Rakeem, Bobby Digital & The Abbot to name a few) but he is generally recognised as being the RZA (an acronym for Ruler Zig-Zag-Zig Allah). The success of being behind the music production the Wu-Tang Clan has allowed RZA to expand into film scores, acting & literature as well as continuing to produce music for other artists. Least we forget his ability as a rapper where he has showcased his versatility not only with the “Clan” but with another group he helped form “Gravediggaz” & as a solo artist.
(Rashad Unique)

Here’s a rundown of RZA’s solo album discography:

1998: RZA as Bobby Digital – Bobby Digital In Stereo
2001:…

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SLUM VILLAGE – YES!

Slum Village YESThere seems to be an unwritten rule in groups, no matter what genre: That once a key member either leaves or passes away, the morale of the group is never the same and usually for the worse. Look at the evidence: Left Eye dies, TLC isn’t the same. Poetic dies, Gravediggaz isn’t the same. Proof dies, D12 isn’t the same. Biggie dies, Junior M.A,F.I.A. isn’t the same. Freaky Tah dies, Lost Boyz isn’t the same. The list goes on, even the almighty Wu-Tang Clan aren’t the same without Ol’ Dirty. Very few will argue that.

All of the aforementioned groups lost one member. But Slum Village lost three: Baatin, Elzhi & J Dilla. While Elzhi left due to business decisions, Baatin & Dilla returned to the essence. Anyone would think that Slum Village were finished as a group for sure. But Illa J & T3 refuse to let that curse effect them. Can Slum Village survive??? An emphatic – YES! YES! YES! YES!

The striking difference between the groups past efforts post 2009 and this one, is that this newest project is produced entirely by J Dilla & Young RJ, and the album has the official seal of quality stamp approved by Ma Dukes herself, on the Yancey Media Group imprint. If Busta isn’t going to use the plethora of beats Dilla left him, why not have his esteemed group use them? We can’t let Dilla’s work be in vain???

The album’s intro isn’t as epic as in previous projects, like ‘Giant’ from the self titled album, or the Detroit Deli opening, but this is a minor, as this intro sets the tone of that classic sound that fans have wanted since ‘Fantastic’. But you know what ‘Love Is’…it’s NOT bullsh!t as Bilal joins in on this latest chapter. The nostalgic vibe continues with a vintage hook in ‘Tear It Down’ featuring Jon Connor. Ess-Vee keeps things ‘Bonafide’, 20 inch rims on the ride!

The Detroit Duo has always had their ‘Expressive’ ways with the women…bringing in BJ The Chicago Kid in for the hook.. only for the grown and sexy. If you’re 18 and a big fan of say… Miquel, THIS TUNE IS NOT FOR YOU!

Switching it up, the guest appearances in this project are those that Dilla would work with, it’s a fact that fans have an issue with certain artists on Dilla beats, even those that they respect in high regard. Phife Dawg brings the aura of A Tribe Called Quest in ‘Push It Along’… but the album’s highlight may go to the ‘Windows’… T3 & Illa J assault a thunderous Dilla track tailor made to cause a riot at a jam, then J.Ivy just had to go and put his epic poetry over it at the end.

The track ‘Yes Yes’ originally appeared last year for a mixtape. Picture a Detroit branch of the ‘Bad Intentions’ hotel…and that’s essentially what this track is. Dr Dre and Knoc’turnal would be proud. Throughout the album Ess-Vee are out to give ‘Right Back’ to the fans… give them an album the fans crave for, but they can’t do this without the assistance of De La Soul.

‘Where We Come From’ is a good ol’ ‘reppin’ yo’ city’ track… complimented with live drums riding the beat out. This continues into a story of meeting the girl of their dreams in the ‘Big City’, where the sex is compared to the ‘World Series’…

‘What We Have’ goes into the deep intimate sexual thoughts… this is straight classic Dilla, midnight maruaders music… you gotta close the eyes and ears of a young person with your hands. Again, if you’re an 18 year old who loves artists like French Montana, Young Thug and the like, THIS SONG AIN’T FOR YOU!!!

The album reaches it’s end with ‘Just Like A Test’. Don’t you think Ess-Vee should have started testing the instruments first before going in? The tempo goes from the slow midnight maruaders tone of What We Have and goes into a frantic drums. Those who heard the stream of this will notice that two tunes were omitted from the physical release. ‘Too Much’ Featuring Keely and the Black Milk produced ‘We On The Go’. Reasons for the former are not known which is a real shame, however reasons for the latter might be because of the Black Milk aspect of production and the song’s initial release.

Illa J Grant JeuceSomewhere in the heavens, Baatin & Dilla are proud of what the surviving members have created here. They truly continued to keep it them while rummaging through Dilla’s beats…giving the fans a true representation of what brought Slum Village to the dance and brought it into 2015. This album is sure to continue the YES! movement that WWE Superstar Daniel Bryan started. The question remains: Will the ‘bandwagon’ Dilla fans support the project??? Bootlegging Dilla should be a criminal offence in Hip Hop.

Slum Village 2015 tour dates:
July 4 Ericeira Portugal
July 5 Den Haag, The Netherlands
July 7 Corsica France
July 10 Washington, DC
August 7 Leicester, UK
August 9 Croatia Soundwave festival
August 10 London, UK
August 22 Singapore
August 25 Manila, Philippines
August 28 Seoul, Korea

iNTeLL – AWAKENING

CD101Controversy is such a crazy thing, and we as a society fall for it all the time. Most artists these days will deliberately use controversial tactics to boost their record sales, particularly those we don’t support. They will do things and it will appear on Worldstar or TMZ, we go and share the links on our social media. So while their attention seeking antics start trending, it is a distraction to the real picture and the real issues going on. Some social media users try to do that and open people’s eyes, and only like-minded individuals will pay attention.

Wu-affiliate Cilvaringz has a record out there entitled ‘Death to America’, a controversial track making people aware of what is really going on, but he has become the villain of Wu fans worldwide recently because of the Wu-album that won’t be available to the public for 88 years unless purchased by the most die-hard wealthy Wu fan. But iNTeLL, son of U-God wants to take controversy to another level by unleashing his album ‘Awakening’, and it couldn’t have come at a better time, worldwide terrorism, Christians murdered in a church, and the police brutality which seems racially motivated. Meanwhile America wants to remind the whole world that they are the greatest country, iNTeLL has 14 reasons why that’s not necessarily the case.

After a startling intro from Jeff Daniels stating such a claim which may make listeners jaw drop or those in the knowing ‘not surprised, iNTeLL kicks off with the album’s title track. He’s out to awaken his listeners’ sleeping mind, at the same time join the war with the real hip hop artists that’s been doing it to restore hip hop in its purest form.

Those who have followed iNTeLL know that he was shot at a very young age. He goes into detail on the fateful day in question: March 13, 1994.

The Squeegie O featured ‘Karma’ takes the same sample 9th Wonder used for Little Brother’s Sincerely Yours from 2005’s The Minstrel Show. Both MCs go in on their real life tales of Karma, then iNTeLL feels he needs to ‘Preach’ the truth to his people about the meaning of Memorial Day while at the same time reflecting on Eric Garner, and feels as though America is supposed to be the Land of the Free, he still feels enslaved. This is followed by Jeff Daniels breakdown statement of America’s false claims and tricknology backed up with figures and stats.

iNTeLL continues in ‘I Rap, Therefore I Am’, where he pledges his allegiance to Hip Hop as opposed to the flag that he has displayed on his album cover engulfed in flames, the next track, Land of The Free, Home of the Slave could well be iNTeLL’s 5 Stages of Consciousness. Here he is joined by Lyrics, SiTH, Cha$e Green, & Dru Gunn$. iNTeLL gives a disturbing picture of how police kill college kids because they are ‘bored’ on duty, this is followed by a list of the known victims of police brutality and the dates these atrocities happened right up to June 25, 2015.

LISTEN TO THE EXCLUSIVE RePPiN4U INTERVIEW WITH iNTeLL HERE

iNTeLL has learned a lot from his Wu Brethren, whether intentional or not. American Crime Story sees the son of Golden Arms try his hand on storytelling, and Jeff Daniels statement on Freedom is arguable, he claims that almost every country has more freedom than America.

That statement flows right into ‘Prison’, SiTH and Cha$e Green return on the frantic DJ Homicide produced track. The three assault the beat with harsh reality of being blessed to even make the next hour, let alone the next day. Amidst all this, the world will bear Witness the Strength of iNTeLL’s words, here he admits that he’s sick of the media asking him about the Clan’s movements. He was never in this for the money, and the quality in this album shows that in his rhymes and political views.

The album closes out with ‘When I Dream’ featuring the beautiful vocals of Anny Jules. The thing about this album is, iNTeLL and SiTH were led to believe that America IS the greatest country… and it’s all they dream for. But can they make that happen when the government continues to brainwash the easily gullible? Jeff Daniels argument is that America was ONCE a great country and wants it to return to that.

iNTeLL U-God Son2

iNTeLL fears that he may get hate from the album’s content, but his real fear is that this wonderfully crafted concept of work may fall on deaf ears and a lot of people more concerned about the latest goings on with the likes of Iggy, Drake and the like on their social media as stated earlier in this review, hence the album’s title having multiple meanings. If anything, if he does get hate, that can only mean a good thing. Because people actually paid attention and as Keith Murray says, “The Truth Hurts and it Kills You to Listen”. Controversy was what iNTeLL wanted, and Controversy is what iNTeLL will get, and with that – Mission Accomplished.